“What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn’s advertising material is ripe with ‘Since 1904,’ but it’s widely reported the first race wasn’t run until 1905.”

A tree may be rife (abundant) with fruit, and that fruit may be ripe (fully matured), but the terms are unrelated.


“Beginning with a dozen-against-one throwdown in a prison bathroom stall, progressing to a battle royale in a muddy prison courtyard and a remarkably precise face-off in a restaurant kitchen, Evans and his cinematographers frame the mayhem with loving attention.”

Royale is used in many proper names — for cars, hamburgers, etc. (the first James Bond book was “Casino Royale”) — and proper names are spelled however the owners want them spelled. But a big fight is a battle royal, not royale, and a particularly offensive person is a royal pain, not a royale one. In other words, royale is not an accepted variant spelling of royal. My old Random House Unabridged lists only one definition for royale: “custard cut into shapes and used as a garnish in soups.” Not much to battle over.


Royal is the word that means “of or relating to a monarch” and also “huge, significant.” Incidentally, Garner’s Modern American Usage tells us that king-size is the standard spelling of that related word. King-sized is a variant spelling.

A little late for 2014, but a running start for 2016:


“The adjective Olympian refers first and foremost to Mount Olympus in northern Greece, which was the mythological home of the Greek gods. Olympic is associated with the plain of Olympia in the Peloponnese, west of Athens, where the original Olympic games were held in ancient times. Nowadays it’s the standard adjective for the modern international athletic contest … As a noun, Olympian can refer to either one of the mythological inhabitants of Mount Olympus, or someone who has competed at the modern Olympic games. … The associated word Olympiad … originally referred to the four-year interval between the Olympic contests; now it usually refers to the actual celebration of the games, as in the opening ceremony of the XXVII Olympiad.” — The Cambridge Guide to English Usage.